Sunday, November 10, 2013

Love Wins

Oh, Man. My head is swimming with all the things I haven't said and need to say; in fact, I just interrupted my own blogging to make a list of things I want to write. But the thing I want to write most has to do with my own rebellion, a time during which I fell out of fellowship with God, and how He drew me back to Himself.

I should preface the whole thing by saying: I can hardly stand for someone to tell me what to do. I love a good story. I'm fascinated by facts and passionate about scripture. If the spirit's right, I don't mind a hint or suggestion. Sometimes (again, if the spirit's right), I can tolerate unsolicited advice.

But I'm very sensitive to approach. The minute someone tells me what I must do or must think, I shut down. I despise feeling patronized, judged, or labeled. I can get stuck for a long time over a feeling and have been known to argue with people in my mind for years.

Having said all that, there was a point in time after my divorce that I longed to reconnect with God. I was entrenched in sin, though, and unprepared to follow all of God's commandments (which I knew well, having been raised in the church) in any sort of wholehearted manner. I knew I needed ministry. I also knew I wasn't ready for a return to the traditional church. I wanted to ease back in: to feel accepted for (or despite) who and where I was.

I found a church that met my needs and--in that no-pressure environment--started talking and listening to God again. It took awhile, but over time, I managed (through the power of the Holy Spirit) to start untangling myself from the most binding of my sin problems. Some years after that, I felt relatively free of that sin problem and ready to return to the traditional church.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to photograph one of my dearest friends and her family. I'd wondered if I'd become emotional, photographing them, but truth is: they're an exceedingly playful bunch, and I was far too entertained for tears. As I studied images of my friend later, though, I was overcome thinking about our eleven-year friendship.

As I've written before, Christy's been mature, responsible, and settled over the course of our entire relationship, but I floundered spiritually for much of it. She loved me, anyway, and more than that: she did life with me. It made all the difference. It made every difference.

She'll read this and want to downplay what I'm saying, but I'm asking her to hear me. I'm asking you to hear me. Love won me. Not clever, intellectual, or even scriptural arguments. Not admonition, shaming, judgment, correction, or reproof. Love. The love of that one friend--coupled with the acceptance I found in a non-traditional church--won me back to Jesus.

I'm asking you: think of me before you bash a non-traditional church and its acceptance of those on the fringe. Before you talk about how dangerous it is to consort with those who walk openly in sin, think of me. Think of how one Christian was brave enough to walk with me through darkness and how one church was bold enough to fling wide its doors and say: "Come to Jesus where you are." And consider: because of this bravery and boldness, in the end, I'm probably pretty close to exactly where you think I should be.

I know I can't be the only rebel out there.

My Beautiful Christy and Her Family


  1. Brandi - this is beautiful, powerful and TRUE. I get this, through and through, and I celebrate friends like Christy and churches that open their doors, no matter what. This is a brave post and I salute you for it. And I thank you.

  2. Thank you for this. This gives me hope. I don't know how to explain it, but sometime I will try. In many ways I am probably on a different side of this - just with my own background and family and baggage stuff. But I am reminded to pray for what God brought to mind while reading this. Love your heart, Brandee.

  3. Beautiful! What an amazing testimony to the love of God though your friend.

  4. WOW! So super true! I have been saying this for so long. We can SAY all we want but the action of showing love towards someone speaks way bigger than words. I am so glad the Lord gave you a friend such as this. This is what I strive for in my own walk in this life.

  5. Can you just move next door to me? I promise I won't tell you what to do!!!! You can be my mommy coach to my a couple of my non-traditional sons - who can't be logically persuaded to reconnect with Christ - who balk at advice as if I were telling them what to do. I have learned more about how God doesn't just love the ones always with Him, or the ones on the fringe - but the ones beyond the fringe - I learned that He pursues the rebel - and loves them passionately. I'll admit - I wasn't a rebel - not that way. I'd grown up the daughter of broken rebels - and I wanted no part of it. These boys have taught me to love those rebels, though! So - will you be my mommy coach?!!! I so love your heart Brandee!